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Newbie - Scope or Binoculars (1 Viewer)

Doing a bit of research on here and not sure what direction to go in. I'd love a spotting scope but would a good set of binoculars maybe be better suited.

If I had a scope it would be set up in the caravan which overlooks the sea, rocky outcrops with cliffs in the distance (around 1 1/2 - 2 mile max). I love sitting in the lounge area and gazing out to sea looking at the wildlife and some sea life along with kayakers and divers. Reading threads it seems that a good set of binoculars mounted on a tripod can give you some really satisfying results, I could also utilise them outdoors so guessing they would be more versatile than a scope or am I not thinking outside the box and maybe a cheap small scope further down the line
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Hi again capernstarling - I've taken the liberty of moving your post to the Scope forum.

The guys there are much better placed to be able to advise you. You might like to let them what your budget would be.
 
Thanks delia todd

I'm prepared to spend around 2k, don't know enough to risk buying 2nd hand. My only pair of glasses I have are some Bausch & Lomb 10x40's which I spend hours looking through when out and about at the caravan
 

gwlee

Active member
Doing a bit of research on here and not sure what direction to go in. I'd love a spotting scope but would a good set of binoculars maybe be better suited.

If I had a scope it would be set up in the caravan which overlooks the sea, rocky outcrops with cliffs in the distance (around 1 1/2 - 2 mile max). I love sitting in the lounge area and gazing out to sea looking at the wildlife and some sea life along with kayakers and divers. Reading threads it seems that a good set of binoculars mounted on a tripod can give you some really satisfying results, I could also utilise them outdoors so guessing they would be more versatile than a scope or am I not thinking outside the box and maybe a cheap small scope further down the line
I have both and use binoculars much more (~10/1 ratio). My home is on a 4,300 foot mountain ridge, so I do a lot of long distance terrestrial viewing (2-80 miles). My 10x50 works well on or off a tripod. Atmospheric conditions here limit the scope to 16x-24x most of the time. If I need 24x, I use the scope. I prefer the tripod mounted binocular view at 10x to the telescopic view at 16x. For short range terrestrial viewing (out to 100-200 yards) the scope is useful up to 62x, but 34x is more typical
 
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(y) Thanks gwlee, very interesting comments. I have never tried binoculars mounted on a tripod but often lean against the window to try and steady the image

Am guessing a tripod combination will further enhance my viewing experience
 

Ratal

Well-known member
Opticron Aurora 8x42 bins.

Opticron 77mm spotting scope.

IInside your 2 grand budget but will deliver a life time of viewing delight. Binoculars will get you a nice wide panoramic view and scope will get you zzzzooooooming in for the close up.

Both are spectacular quality with staggeringly wonderful views.
 

Sandra (Taylor)

Registered User
Supporter
Opticron Aurora 8x42 bins.

Opticron 77mm spotting scope.

IInside your 2 grand budget but will deliver a life time of viewing delight. Binoculars will get you a nice wide panoramic view and scope will get you zzzzooooooming in for the close up.

Both are spectacular quality with staggeringly wonderful views.
Just a comment saying I agree with this post. Always had Opticron binoculars over the years and found them great for purpose. But then Swarowksi bins and Kowa scope got a foot in the door! Think these will see us out .....
 

Ratal

Well-known member
Just a comment saying I agree with this post. Always had Opticron binoculars over the years and found them great for purpose. But then Swarowksi bins and Kowa scope got a foot in the door! Think these will see us out .....
My suggestion stays inside the 2000 uk sterling limit nicely for BOTH.

Yours, well, not so much. And you just know that once you have a scope you want bins. And when you have bins....you want that 3xtra reach.... bwahahahaha so I decided to put out a price suggestion for both combined to head off that dilemma

And the 77mm scope is a punchy beast, and the Aurora binos are a delight. A worthy 2000 uk sterling combo.
 

gwlee

Active member
(y) Thanks gwlee, very interesting comments. I have never tried binoculars mounted on a tripod but often lean against the window to try and steady the image

Am guessing a tripod combination will further enhance my viewing experience
I find that tripod mounting any binocular I own increases the amount of detail that I see, but higher magnification binoculars benefit more. One of the things I like most about 7x-10x binoculars though is that they don’t require a tripod, so most of the time I don’t use one. I find bracing a binocular against a window or other support improves the view and is more convenient than a tripod, but not as effective.

Occasionally, I will use a tripod mounted binocular for astronomy, and I use them about half the time for long distance terrestrial viewing from a fixed position like the deck on my home or your caravan. Many people have a tripod around the house for some purpose, and almost any good photo tripod will be adequate for use with 7x-10x binoculars, so give it a try and see what you think.
 

wllmspd

Well-known member
So both, I have 70mm tripod mounted angled binoculars I can run from 16x to 70+x with different eyepieces. Of course I also use handheld 8x for wide angle looking about, then the bigger pair for immersive, relaxing looking into the distance stuff.
Peter
 
Thanks guys, the Opticron do seem good quality, Japanese and 30 year warranty which is interesting. I can see this ending up costing me dear down the line :)

I'm hopefully able to call into a binocular shop near me again in the next fortnight and also keen to see what a tripod offers into the equation for binoculars
 

Aotus

Well-known member
United States
The Nikon Monarch ED 82 is gaining a lot of traction on this forum, and is well under your price limit. It also has an impressive no-fault warrantee.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
when you are serious about birding you want both , a scope is good for watching migration etc...
Not so sure about that, scopes are hugely less convenient than binoculars.
They take time to set up and are uncomfortable to use, squinting into a tiny image produced by an expensive eye piece, with the whole contraption mounted on an expensive and bulky tripod.
Unless you have a stable observation post, scopes are almost the antithesis of birding imho. With binoculars, one observes nature as it becomes visible, with scopes, one hopes that nature will become visible at the place one selected. They are far from spontaneous use instruments.
If however that is what you meant to say by 'serious about birding', I agree entirely.
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
Not so sure about that, scopes are hugely less convenient than binoculars.
They take time to set up and are uncomfortable to use, squinting into a tiny image produced by an expensive eye piece, with the whole contraption mounted on an expensive and bulky tripod.
Unless you have a stable observation post, scopes are almost the antithesis of birding imho. With binoculars, one observes nature as it becomes visible, with scopes, one hopes that nature will become visible at the place one selected. They are far from spontaneous use instruments.
If however that is what you meant to say by 'serious about birding', I agree entirely.
Wow, I am surprised (based on your other posts in other threads) to see you write this. All I can say is that this description does not match my experience at all. I use scopes in the course of rough and tumble spontaneous birding on a frequent basis. I live in a region with long views across the landscape and sky, including grasslands, savanna, large reservoirs, stretches of plowed or pasture land, sewage ponds, you name it a scope is often quite useful. I use big ones on big tripods that travel by car, medium ones on medium tripods and sling for short hikes, little ones with little tripods that deploy quickly from being stowed in backpack for long hikes, medium ones on car window mount for many quick checks of distant perched raptors or tiny field birds (e.g. longspurs, pipits). All in the pursuit of spontaneous birding!

On the other hand, I hate scopes. They are a pain to carry compared to nothing and they are boring compared to binoculars. But they don't have to be a pain to carry compared to other stuff that I might carry, and they don't have to be a pain to look through. Don't squint, and do use a nice widefield eyepiece.

--AP
 

Aotus

Well-known member
United States
Something else to consider is that a scope can be social: one person can point it at something interesting and others can take a look. Often much better than trying to describe where the thing of interest is so others can find it in their bins...
I've had my first scope for all of three days now, and have been able to use it once to look at a bird on the front porch. The view was impressive, never been so close to a woodpecker before, but i think the thing that stood out to me was exactly what you describe, the social part. My wife and I took turns looking through the new scope. We'll certainly continue to use our own binos, but when we have the scope set up we will share. I liked it. We were taking turns enjoying the view and then enjoying the other person's enjoyment.

edit: I’d guess I’d better share the pic I took through the scope… F86624D8-C5EA-4097-88D8-E5BA41421276.jpeg
 

SUPPRESSOR

Well-known member
England
My suggestion stays inside the 2000 uk sterling limit nicely for BOTH.

Yours, well, not so much. And you just know that once you have a scope you want bins. And when you have bins....you want that 3xtra reach.... bwahahahaha so I decided to put out a price suggestion for both combined to head off that dilemma

And the 77mm scope is a punchy beast, and the Aurora binos are a delight. A worthy 2000 uk sterling combo.
Have both.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
I'm going to go against the flow and say that for the specific use case you mention, a scope should be your first purchase. I spend 95% of my birding looking through binoculars and (like others) hate having to lug a scope around. However, the 5% of time I do use the scope is on coastal or wetland habitats, and in those places I'm always grateful I made the effort to carry it along. A decent scope will add enormously to your enjoyment of seabirds - I've got an Opticron and have always been a bit underwhelmed by its image quality compared to higher-end Swarovskis and (in particular) Kona scopes - so I'd blow your £2k budget on the best scope and eyepiece you can afford, ideally of course after trying them out first.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
...damn you BF autocorrect, I mean of course KOWA! ...and don't forget a decent tripod, although if you're doing most of your birding from a fixed location you can go for a robust aluminium 'pod as you don't need the lighter carbon fibre models
 

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